- Executive Office of Education
- Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
Media Contact for Baker-Polito Administration Awards Designations to High Schools with New Innovation Pathways Programs that Help Students Gain College and Career Experience
Colleen Quinn, Communications Director, Executive Office of Education
Boston — The Baker-Polito Administration today awarded designations to 18 high schools for launching new programs, known as Innovation Pathways, that will connect students’ learning to a career pathway by providing work-based learning experiences with rigorous technical coursework. These early career programs provide high school students with a coherent course of study focused on a particular field, while also offering them access to college-level courses and internship opportunities to gain work experience and insight about whether the field is something they would like to pursue in college or a career after high school.
The Baker-Polito Administration launched these early career programs in 2017 to help students develop knowledge and skills related to a chosen field of study before they graduate high school. Many of the early career programs at high schools are in STEM-related fields, including advanced manufacturing, information technology, environmental and life sciences, health care and social assistance, and business and finance.
“These early career programs provide students tremendous opportunities for future success in and out of the classroom by building partnerships with local employers to equip students with experience and knowledge in a growing field,” said Governor Charlie Baker.
“Both students and employers benefit from this experience when students are exposed to careers they might not have been aware of, and employers gain a skilled future workforce,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “Our administration is committed to closing opportunity, achievement and workforce gaps for students throughout the Commonwealth, and Innovation Pathways offer invaluable, hands-on learning opportunities.”
More than 600 students are expected to enroll in the newly designated pathways announced today. With these new designations, there are now 49 high schools in Massachusetts with Innovation Pathway programs, with a total of 121 different pathways. More than 4,000 students are projected to be enrolled in an Innovation Pathway program by Fall 2021.
“It is a testament to the success and importance of these programs that despite the challenges of the last year, high schools moved forward with creating more early career opportunities for students. These programs give students relevant and valuable experience that helps them think about their future career paths, something that may have been sidetracked during the health crisis,” said Education Secretary James Peyser.
“High school students who have opportunities to explore Innovation Pathways gain valuable experience and knowledge about growing industries, while gaining credentials and credits and insight into whether it is something they would like to pursue in their future. These opportunities are opening doors for many students across the Commonwealth,” said Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Jeffrey C. Riley.
In October 2019, Governor Baker and Lt. Governor Polito announced the availability of $1.8 million in grants over three years from American Student Assistance (ASA), a national nonprofit based in Massachusetts. The grants will support high schools across the Commonwealth develop programs that prepare students for college and careers. The ASA grants were awarded to the Governor’s Workforce Skills Cabinet to help fund Innovation Pathway programs at high schools across the Commonwealth, and marked the first time that ASA awarded a major grant to a state to support college and career pathways in high schools.
"American Student Assistance (ASA) is proud to continue our commitment to the Innovation Pathways program and we are thrilled to see another round of schools receive their Innovation Pathways Designation," said American Student Assistance CEO Jean Eddy. "In this time of uncertainty and change, it is more important than ever for students to be able to build skills they need for future success, connect classroom learning to real world experience, and grow the workforce pipeline across the Commonwealth. We applaud the Baker-Polito Administration for their continued commitment to this program and for ensuring all young people in Massachusetts have the skills they need to succeed."
Schools that apply for an Innovation Pathway designation are required to follow five design principles:
- Equitable access for all students
- Guided academic pathway relating to one of five specified broad industry sectors
- Enhanced student supports
- Relevant connections to career
- Deep partnerships between high schools, employers, and workforce development boards
The following high schools received designations:
Atlantis Charter School – Fall River, MA
Atlantis Charter School is launching an Innovation Pathway in Information that will serve 50 students when fully enrolled. The school is partnering with MassHire Bristol and the Business Innovation Center to facilitate student connection to the workplace and experiential learning opportunities.
Bartlett High School – Webster, MA
Bartlett High School is adding two new Innovation Pathways in Healthcare and Social Assistance and Manufacturing that will serve 120 students when fully enrolled. The school is partnering with MassHire Central and Christopher House Nursing and Rehabilitation Center and Genex Optics as employer partners. Students will have the opportunity to participate in college courses through Nichols College and Quinsigamond Community College, and in senior year will complete a 100-hour internship or capstone project that will tie together elements of the program.
Carver Middle-High School – Carver, MA
Carver Middle-High School is launching an Innovation Pathway in Manufacturing that will serve 75 students when fully enrolled. The school is partnering with MassHire South Shore and FlexoConcepts. Students in the program will have the opportunity to earn relevant industry certifications. In senior year students will complete a 100-hour internship.
Chelmsford High School – Chelmsford, MA
Chelmsford High School is launching two Innovation Pathways in Business & Finance and Information that will serve 40 students when fully enrolled. The school is partnering with MassHire Greater Lowell and multiple employer partners in the area, including Workers Credit Union. Students will have the opportunity to participate in college courses through Middlesex Community College.
Dearborn STEM Academy - Roxbury, MA
Dearborn STEM Academy is launching an Innovation Pathway in Healthcare and Social Assistance that will serve 120 students when fully enrolled. The school is collaborating with the MassHire Boston Workforce Board (Boston Private Industry Council (PIC)), the Brigham and Women’s Hospital as its employer partner to offer internship experiences, and Wentworth Institute of Technology to offer college courses.
Dennis-Yarmouth Regional High School – South Yarmouth, MA
Dennis-Yarmouth Regional High School is launching an Innovation Pathway in Healthcare and Social Assistance that will serve 40 students when fully enrolled. The school is partnering with MassHire Cape and Islands, and Coastal Medical Transportation Services, LLC; Cape Cod CPR; Yarmouth Fire Department, as employer partners, and also the Tufts School of Medicine Great Diseases project to offer coursework in infectious diseases. Students in the pathway will complete a 100-hour internship and the end-of-experience deliverable will highlight the students’ achievements during their internship and the connection between their experience and future goals/plans.
Excel High School – South Boston – Boston, MA
Excel High School is launching an Innovation Pathway in Information that will serve 150 students when fully enrolled. The school is partnering with MassHire Boston Workforce Board (Boston Private Industry Council (PIC)), and multiple employers including the Young People’s Project. Students in the pathway will take courses at Wentworth Institute of Technology. Students in the pathway will complete a 100-hour internship, during which they will engage in pre-placement interviews, weekly reflection journals, daily work tasks, , employee interviews and a long-term service based or workplace learning project.
Swampscott High School – Swampscott, MA
Swampscott High School is launching an Innovation Pathway in Manufacturing. The school is partnering with MassHire Metro North, Lynn Manufacturing, and M.M. Newman, among other area employers. Through a partnership with North Shore Community College, participating students will take advanced coursework in the core academic areas and have opportunities for college level-work in technical courses related to Advanced Manufacturing. Participating students will complete a 100-hour internship sponsored by the partnering employers.
Turners Falls High School – Montague, MA
Turners Fall High School is launching an additional Innovation Pathway in Manufacturing that will serve 20 students when fully enrolled. The school is partnering with MasssHire Franklin-Hampshire and Massachusetts Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MassMEP), and a number of other area industry partners, to provide students internship opportunities with manufacturing employers that will be supported by mentors. In addition, participating students can earn up to five industry-recognized credentials.
Uxbridge High School – Uxbridge, MA
Uxbridge High School is launching an Innovation Pathway in Business and Finance that will serve 100 students when fully enrolled. The school is partnering with MassHire Central and the Blackstone Valley Chamber of Commerce. Students in this pathway can participate in dual-enrollment coursework which will enable students to transfer credits toward the attainment of a logistics certification, offered through Quinsigamond Community College. Students in their senior year will complete a 100-hour internship or capstone project that will tie together elements of the program.
Ware High School – Ware, MA
Ware High School is launching an Innovation Pathway in Manufacturing that will serve 130 students when fully enrolled. The school is partnering with MassHire Franklin-Hampshire and Vibram Corporation, among other area industry partners, to provide students with internship opportunities with manufacturing employers. Ware Public Schools partners with Holyoke Community College to provide Advanced Manufacturing participants with ongoing exposure to postsecondary opportunities and assistance with college planning. Students in the program have the opportunity to earn industry-recognized credentials.
West Springfield High School – West Springfield, MA
West Springfield High School is launching three new Innovation Pathways – in Business & Finance; Health Care & Social Assistance; and Information. These programs will serve 280 students when fully enrolled. The district is partnering with MassHire Hampden County, West of the River Chamber of Commerce, and the following area employer partners: Junior Achievement of Western Massachusetts; the Boys & Girls Club of West Springfield; Landmark at Monastery Heights Assisted Living Facility; and the Town of West Springfield IT Department. Participating students will have the opportunity to take dual-enrollment courses at Springfield Technical Community College and Westfield State University; earn industry related credentials; and each will complete an internship during their senior year.
Worcester Public Schools – Worcester, MA
Worcester Public Schools is launching a new Innovation Pathway in Environmental and Life Sciences at its six comprehensive high schools (Burncoat, Doherty, North, South, Claremont, and University Park). This pathway will serve 45 students across these six comprehensive high schools when fully enrolled. The district is partnering with MassHire Central, the Chamber of Commerce, Massachusetts Biological Initiatives, UMass Medical Center, and BioBuilder. In their senior year, students will participate in a capstone course during which they will work on projects and engage with peers, advisors, and mentors on a solution to a problem presented to them by local business partners.
School districts interested in launching early career pathways can find more information at https://www.doe.mass.edu/ccte/innovation-pathways/